for Japanese


15 June, 2015

Japan’s Environment Ministry Opposes New Coal-fired Power Plants

On June 12, Japan's Ministry of the Environment (MOE) announced that it would advise the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of its opposition to the planned construction of large coal-fired power plants in Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on account of their hefty CO2 emissions.

The opinion will be reflected in the plants’ environmental impact assessment that the ministry is now preparing.

Earlier this month, the Japanese government announced its target of reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by the year 2030 from their 2013 levels. Nonetheless, quite a few operators nationwide have recently announced plans to build inexpensive coal-fired power plants.

Fearing that a continuation of the situation could make it impossible for the country to reach the new target, the MOE has strongly urged the electric utility industry to develop an industry-wide framework for reducing CO2.

Although the MOE opinion has no legally binding effect — only METI has the power to approve and grant permission in such cases — it will be interesting to see how METI reacts to it.

The new thermal power plants are being planned by the Yamaguchi-Ube Power Generation Co., Ltd., a joint venture of the Electric Power Development Co. (EPDC, or J-Power), Osaka Gas and Ube Industries, Ltd. The company plans to start constructing two 600-MWe class coal-fired power plants in 2017, with the first one slated to begin commercial operation in 2023.

As coal-fired power plants are generally believed to emit relatively large amounts of CO2, the Japanese government did not use to approve the construction of new ones in principle because of environmental impact assessments. That situation changed, however, with the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi following the giant earthquake of March 11, 2011.

With an uncertain schedule for the restart of domestic nuclear power plants — now all shut down — many power companies and other companies in Japan have been announcing new plans to construct coal-fired power plants, which are generally cheaper than other kinds of thermal plants.

Fueling the boom in building coal-fired power plants is also the fact that the country will fully deregulate retail power rates as of April 2016. As consumers will then be free to choose which power company to buy their electricity from, the companies have employed a strategy of seeking low-cost, coal-fired power to maintain price competitiveness.

The result, of course, will be that homes and businesses will pay lower rates, although CO2 emissions will necessarily rise as well.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

SNS facebooktwitter

NPPs Map


Voices from Nuclear Industry – Contributing to a clean and resilient recovery

3 September, 2020
Voices from Nuclear Industry – Contributing to a clean and resilient recovery03:59

Recent News

23 September, 2020
Hitachi to End Business Operations on UK Nuclear Power Project
15 September, 2020
Japan’s Cabinet Office to Hold Virtual Side Event on Radiation Cancer Therapy at IAEA General Conference
10 September, 2020
New Report Released on Nuclear Power’s Role in Dealing with Environment Issues
4 September, 2020
Japan’s NRA Says RFS’s Recyclable-Fuel Storage Center Is Compatible with Regulatory Standards
3 September, 2020
JAIF Issues Joint Video Message with Foreign Counterparts
27 August, 2020
METI Minister Kajiyama Stresses Importance of Realizing HLW Final Disposal
7 August, 2020
Nuclear Powered Ship Mutsu Designated as Special “Ship Heritage”
3 August, 2020
On Taking Office as JAIF President
3 August, 2020
Nuclear Energy Buyers Guide in Japan 2020-21 is now available
31 July, 2020
Thoughts on the Decision to Approve Changes to the Reprocessing Business